Can I Help?

A few days ago, I had oral surgery to address an ongoing infection in one of my upper molars.  The procedure involved cutting through my gums and manually removing the infection and the tips of the molar’s roots before sealing them off.  I’m not going to lie and say it was fun, or even no big deal.  I don’t like even simple dental procedures, and this one was a doozie, any way you looked at it.  But I can say that the procedure wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated, for one reason and one reason only:  the terrific attitude of the endodontist and her staff.

From the minute I walked into the office, I was treated with compassion, patience and encouragement.  Did I want a blanket to cover up in?  Did I have any questions before we began?  Would I like the chair set to massage during the procedure?  Of course I wanted all of it, especially the chance to ask some last-minute questions.  And by the time the procedure began, I was much calmer more relaxed than I would ever have thought possible in those circumstances.  By the time it was over, I was actually kind of proud of myself for how well I handled it.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my pride was misplaced.  Yes, I had done a good job of managing my nerves in the days before the procedure, but by the time of the actual appointment, I was both nervous and scared.  If the staff had been hurried and abrupt, brushing off my questions, rolling their eyes at my request for a last-minute bathroom break, or acting as if there was no reason for me to be apprehensive, my entire experience would have been very, very, different.  If I had even stuck around long enough for them to do it.  (I may be old, but I can still run pretty fast when I have to.)

The reason I was so calm during the procedure was because the endodontist and her staff did everything in their power to settle my nerves and allow me to get through it with as much dignity as possible.  And that is a gift that I will not soon forget.

I’m sure I was just one of a series of scared and nervous people that the endodontist’s staff has dealt with, and that the way I was treated was their normal routine.  But their patience and encouragement made a world of difference to me.  Which just goes to show that how we treat other people really is a very big deal.

It really doesn’t take that much effort to offer someone an encouraging word, or to listen when someone needs to express their fears and concerns.  It isn’t that hard to smile at a newcomer, to talk to someone who is lonely, or to offer our sympathy to someone who is grieving.  Yet each and every time we do these things, we may well be giving someone else that little bit of help they need to get them through whatever difficulty they happen to be facing at the time.  And what could be more important than that?

95 thoughts on “Can I Help?

  1. A heart warming story about how tactfully and compassionately you were treated at the dentist to help you overcome your feelings of tension and anxiety! I like the way you made at the end an appeal to all of us to show that extra little bit of kindness when we are dealing ourselves with people in distress. A very touching post, Ann!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Oh, I like this! And yet, how hard it is to ask for help sometimes. We fear that people will think us foolish or unwise or childlike. Glad you are through with your procedure, and glad that you got the “help” that you needed!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you! Yes, I have learned that pretending I’m alright when I’m not just doesn’t work. Especially in medical environments, it’s just better to let them know I’m struggling and ask for help. As you say, there’s nothing wrong with showing our weaknesses, I think.

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  3. That is wonderful that the endodontist and her staff have such a wonderful bedside manner. Kindness and compassion can make an uncomfortable situation not so bad. I love the message. If each of us show heart, this world would be an incredible place. Proud of you for walking through that door, I know how hard that is to do. 💗😊

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So glad you had such a good experience. A little compassion goes a long way. We may not even realize the impact small acts of kindness make but they are certainly noticeable when you’re on the receiving end! Feel better Ann!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I know how much you weren’t looking forward to this (who ever does?). Your acknowledgement of the staff is really nice to read about. I’ve seen it go both ways and there’s a world of difference in how the patient perceives the whole experience. And you’re right, it doesn’t take all that much effort, but in your case, I can tell it made a big difference. I’m happy to read that things went well!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, I actually mentioned to them that no one gets up in the morning and says, “Gee it would be fun to have a little oral surgery today!” But if a person does have to have it, then how they are treated during the experience makes all the difference. I have had medical staff that were very impatient and crabby, and that made things so much harder than they had to be. Luckily, it’s rare!

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Having been in dentistry for 34 years, I know first hand how fear plays out. It is often seen in the form of yelling and raised voices; it can be quite scary to watch. Fear is a very powerful emotion. We are taught to recognize and deal with fear, but sadly, some in the field don’t do this often enough. I always tried to keep my patient seated upright for a while so we could talk and go over the procedures, and make direct eye contact, before the chair was laid back. This went a very long way. I’m very glad you had a positive experience, Ann, and shared it here. It is important. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s a great technique! And exactly what they did. When the doctor (endodontist, even though spell check doesn’t like that word) came in, she sat down next to me, and calmly asked me if I had any questions. I did, and she answered them all. When I apologized for taking so much time with questions, she said she wanted her patients to ask and that she didn’t expect us to trust her if she wasn’t willing to address our concerns. I can’t tell you how much that made me relax!
      And I’m sorry you’ve had patients yell at you and other staff, that’s never appropriate no matter how scared or uncomfortable someone is. I think people who are that afraid should try sedation dentistry, perhaps? Because it’s not right to take fear out on the staff!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m so glad the staff were so supportive and compassionate, it makes such a difference doesn’t it. It takes very little effort to give a kind word but sadly not everyone thinks like that. I grew up with a shocking dentist who we discovered years later was a fraud and a fake, doing work on teeth that were perfectly fine, including mine. I’ll never forget him but in a bad way. So glad you got through it okay. Good on you Ann. Take care xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I haven’t yet, but that’s a good idea. All I did was thank them profusely, but a note would be better. I have a follow up appointment at the end of this week, so maybe I’ll take something in then. Thanks sharing that!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Neil! I’m not in much pain, just sore and healing a little more slowly than I would prefer. (Let’s be honest, my idea of an ideal recovery time is pretty much five seconds…five minutes at the most.) But I’m still very thankful for the way I was treated there, and if I ever do need the services of an endodontist again, I know exactly where I’m going!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you! I know I need to be reminded of this, which is why I’m glad I finally figured out that I shouldn’t have been proud of how I acted during this procedure, I should be grateful for how I was treated!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kindness and compassion are two of the keys that can change the world…one person at a time. We never really know how much someone else may need our encouragement. Sometimes, just a smile can lift your spirits on a melancholy day. I always think that we underestimate the ‘power of one’. The truth is that just one person can change your day and make a difference…maybe even, change your life.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree! One person can make all the difference. Personally, when I think back over my own life, I can think of several times when it was just one person who gave me the confidence, help, or encouragement I really needed to continue. And I think all of us should try to be that one person!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kid: Whaaaaaa!
    Dentist: Well, that’s what you get for eating sweets.
    Kid: Whaaaaaa!
    Dentist: If you quit whining and be brave, I’ll give you a sucker when I am done.

    Thank God for progress.

    Glad to hear that your experience was so positive. Kudos to all. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! And boy, does your dialogue ring true. When I was very young, I lived in St. Louis, where the dentist was my grandfather and we had floridated (however you spell that) water. Then I moved to Kansas, which did not. When I finally saw the dentist there, I had eight cavities that needed to be filled. It was my first unpleasant dental experience, and it set the stage for many, many years. I am so glad that we have progressed beyond that point!

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  10. I agree! I’ve been to some specialists who are very focused on doing medical tests or procedures to solve problems, but not particularly receptive to questions and brief conversation. Some physicians, I realize, are not oriented that way, it’s just not the way they function and see the world. I’m most grateful those doctors can handle very complicated procedures and we would be lost without them…but it’s great when they also have additional staff members who can be more compassionate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Donna! I actually printed off a copy of this post and plan to take it to them to my follow up visit. Maybe they’ll have time to read it, and maybe they won’t, but either way, at least I’ll have put in writing how much I appreciated the way they treated me. That’s a great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just love that you will be doing that, Ann. When we receive love from others, it’s easy to think it always comes from happy hearts. But this isn’t always so. Many of the greatest givers carry great crosses too. A thank you, an act of compassion or appreciation in some form from us might be just the sunshine they need for the day.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I agree, sometimes it is the people who have suffered the most who are also the most generous and compassionate, probably because they know what it is like to need help. I do want to let the staff know how much their kindness was appreciated!

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    • I did a good job of just living my life up until the day before the procedure, at which point I became a nervous wreck. (Just ask my poor husband.) Which is why I was so very appreciative of how I was treated once I showed up to the appointment. I hope it works, but if not, at least it helped me realize that with the right attitude (both my own and the compassion of the staff) I can get through almost anything. And it reminded me how important it is that I treat others with kindness and compassion whenever possible. Thanks, Alan!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Glad it’s behind you and you had such a positive experience. Compassion and the human touch are becoming increasingly rare. After my husband’s recent surgery to repair his ruptured Achille’s tendon, I was very impressed with the receptionists at the surgical center, who greeted me by first name and escorted me to the recovery room. I wasn’t even the patient, but I knew my husband was in good hands with such an attentive staff. A compassionate and kind attitude goes a long way to allaying people’s concerns.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I read your last post about how you were prepping for this dental surgery and so when I saw this post I had to read it right away. Happy the way it turned out to be. And yes, in every field that involves direct customer contact, these qualities in a person are so important.
    I was reminded of how while in college, one of my friends had to regularly visit her dentist and that dentist was a darn good looking guy. So we took turns to go with her just to be around her (ahem! should i add on the pretext of being around her). So in his case, his good looks worked in favor of the patients ( atleast the girls who visited him) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m glad to hear that it all went well for you!
    It would not take much of an effort to comfort someone going through a hard time. But sadly not everyone is willing to share their kindness with the world.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. First, I wish you a complete health! Hope you are pretty good now and good to know you can run fast if you have to 😊. Honestly it just take a bit expression of empathy to deal with such harsh circumstances, rule the hearts and spread peace and love through positive attitude.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’m often afew days behind in reading your posts, but the timing is spot on today. What a wonderful reminder as I head off to work. I’ll stop to hear the reply when I pass in the hall and ask”how are you?”. I’ll give a little more, and suspect I’ll receive so much more in return.. Thanks Ann!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank, Lorie! And I am quite sure you will receive so much more in return, too. It’s taken me a while, but I am finally figuring out that the more we give to others, the more we receive in return….

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  16. I would drive 200 miles for an oral surgery office like that! Been putting off having the wisdom teeth out since I was told to do it in my 20s! Kindness makes such a difference – and for me takes a lot of work. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It really does make a difference! And I can understand why you’ve been putting off having your wisdom teeth removed. That is scary. Maybe ask around, and find out who would recommend a good oral surgeon in your area, especially for someone who is afraid? That way, you’ll know going into it that the chances of the experience being positive are pretty good!

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  17. I hope you’re feeling better, Ann. Oral surgery is never fun. Sometimes people who work in certain fields become immune to those of us who have have something done. It’s nice to know the ones you encountered treated you more than just another body moving through the process. They are the special ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They were indeed! You know first hand how much of a difference how we are treated by medical professionals can make to our overall experience. I wish they were all as nice as the staff at my endodontist’s office. I know I would recommend them to anyone.
      It’s good to hear from you George! I hope things are well with you and your wife!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m so glad you had this experience, Ann. It can most certainly help when people who look after you (and anyone else) take the time and trouble to be kind and considerate. I had the same dental treatment as you did a few years ago and was terrified beforehand but I asked my dentist to explain things to me as he was working and it really helped. Somewhat different from how he usually works, though!
    That said, it can get a bit overpowering sometimes. I had a dentist a few years ago who, with her staff, was so ‘caring’ that I felt smothered and was glad to leave!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so glad the endodontist and her team did everything to make you feel comfortable, Ann. It’s a nasty kind of surgery and fear is only natural. That she took enough time to answer your questions and didn’t make you feel as if they were in hurry is wonderful. My dentist also likes to chat before any kind of procedure to help along the nervousness. Hope you’re feeling better very soon and that that tooth will give you no more trouble!

    Liked by 1 person

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